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Tue, 22 Aug 2006

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 12:00

UK Milk Carton
I notice this milk still has English writing on it, thus it is not really exotic for us Aussies. Though I guess it is at least real English writing as it is from Kent in England. None of this Aussie or American English emblazoned across the carton. You can probably tell it is milk from Ol Blighty just by looking at the picture. They have green grass, if it were Australian milk and they were going for a similar truth in advertising it would have to have a field of brown grass or simply hay scattered on dirt I guess.

I guess with the rampant greenery it could be from Kiwiland, except the measurement is in pints, the Kiwis at least use metric everywhere.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Mon, 21 Aug 2006

RRR Classic 2006 - 18:48
I took a few photos at the RRR Classic mountain bike race yesterday and have now put my photos from the event online.

Definitely a fun course, the thick bull dust down the bump track was very different to most riding I do anywhere. Apparently that will clear up during the next heavy rain, though with the grader having gone down the track most of the interesting rock gardens and their ilk are gone for a few years.

[/mtb/events] link

Fri, 18 Aug 2006

Herberton 8 Hour mtb race - 23:07
Or how I adjusted to the Cairns temperatures slowly, by doing a mountain bike race in the tablelands with rain and almost Canberran temperatures.

Sam and Ben are not going to be competing in the Gravity 12 hour race this year with me as they are living up in Cairns for a year. Thus I was keen to do a race with them at some point. When I saw this appear on the Cairns MTB club calendar it was appealing, then I saw the RRR Classic on the following weekend. That pretty much sealed this holiday for me, so we did the 8 hour race last weekend. As I saw in the few words I write about it, fun, pretty cruisy, could use more interesting singletrack but on the whole worth doing if you are up here.

Anyway if you want to see the details (photos, some words) have a look where I put them.

[/mtb/events] link

Great coffee and some mango wine - 21:31

35 KG of coffee roasted at a time (full size)
As I suggested the other day, I spent Thursday up in the table lands checking out some local produce of interest and looking around Kuranda. The produce of interest was local coffee, and I had a look at a Mango winery simply for the novelty value.

The photo to the left is the bean roaster at the NQ Gold Coffee plantation, this was a good plantation to visit I reckon. Not far outside the town of Mareeba, the plantation is owned and operated by a family, all the coffee has been grown with no pesticides sprayed on it for the last 14 years. They do a free tour for you and will serve a fantastic coffee there. The beans are sun dried there and all processing is done on the premises. In addition to their three coffee varieties (light, medium, espresso) they sell chocolate covered coffee beans, dried fruit (mango and others) and mango jam. All of which I ended up buying. After this visit I decided not to go visit one of the larger more commercial coffee plantations as I was well satisfied with the details I got from this visit. The woman who gave the tour mentioned there is one restaurant in Canberra that serves their coffee (possibly the Chill restaurant in Campbell, I forget).

Afterwards I headed off to the Golden Drop Mango Winery mostly to satisfy my curiosity as to what it could taste like. They had three varieties of wine, Dry, Medium and Sweet, they also sold Mango Port and Mango Liquor, Mango Champagne plus a few other fruit based liquors. I generally prefer dry wines, however I was worried that mango wine would all be somewhat sweet, I was pleasantly surprised to find the dry was indeed a rather good tasting dry wine. The most noticeable thing is there is an almost overpowering Mango aroma from the wine. I liked the novelty of the drink, however at the price (AUD $25 per 750ml bottle) it would not replace a standard drinking wine for many people who drink wine regularly.

After this I headed back to Cairns via Baron Gorge and Kuranda to check out the views and township.

[/leisure/food] link

Wed, 16 Aug 2006

Snicker Doodles - 22:41
The cookies I make fairly often (with apple, choc chip, oat and coconut) are a basic soft sugar cookie recipe. I recalled that there was some slang name for this basic soft cookie in the US however I can never remember it. A few minutes ago I saw an email address with the word Smackerdoodle in it and remembered the cookies were called something doodle. A quick google for "cookie doodle" has reminded me the US slang term for the basic soft sugar cookie is "Snicker Doodle".

[/leisure/food] link

Tea with a coconut aftertaste - 21:42
Sam and Ben purchased some tea from the Daintree Tea plantation when they were up there a few weeks ago. Ben prepared a pot of it a few minutes ago that I am drinking now. Damn good taste, I especially like the slight coconut flavoured aftertaste. I am happy to see I can order this tea online to be delivered to Canberra. (they also have US and Canadian importers) Who knows I may have found a tea to supplant my Twinings Irish Breakfast habit as my favourite tea. I had better sample this a lot more to make sure.

As for things to do up here, I am tempted tomorrow to head up to Mareeba to some local coffee plantations and a Mango Winery as mentioned in this food itinerary. I love fresh coffee, and Mango wine sounds good.

[/leisure/food] link

Good and Bad - 17:16
Having a holiday in a warm place like Cairns with your mountain bike and a road bike available for long rides in the middle of winter. Good.

Coming down with a sore throat threatening to be a cold that makes exerting oneself difficult (160 KM road ride not feasible today) and making you sleepy and lethargic. Bad.

Ahh well.

[/various] link

Tue, 15 Aug 2006

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 12:00

New York Milk Carton
This photo from around July 6th in New York has branding suggesting you consume the product 365 days a year maybe. I guess that is acceptable with milk, however I shudder at the thought of having a tall cold glass of cold pressed olive oil 365 days a year as the bottle of 365 olive oil in the background may suggest.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Yummy eggplant bake - 10:19
I get The Australian newspaper for most of the year for AU $15 through a university staff and students deal. The Weekend Australian is delivered on Saturdays and the Sunday Telegraph is delivered on Sunday, the week day papers I pick up on campus through the week. All of this is to explain why I have the Sunday Telegraph at home (I would never willingly purchase it otherwise, snob that I am <g>).

In the Body and Soul section of the Sunday Telegraph on July 16th this year there were three very appealing recipes. Spicy Fish Soup with Cracked Wheat, Easy Eggplant Bake and Pumpkin, Pine Nut and Silverbeet Rolls. I have been meaning to try these out for a while, however had not gotten around to changing my normal shopping and food preparation for meals at home. While on holiday I decided to try them out so last night I cooked the Easy Eggplant Bake (recipe) for Sam, Ben and I to eat for dinner.

That is definitely one fantastic vegetarian dish, highly recommended, the garlic and the nutty flavour of the dry roasted couscous are good with the eggplant base. I will probably try the pumpkin, pine nut and silverbeet rolls on Thursday.

[/leisure/food] link

Fri, 11 Aug 2006

Training for things to do while sleeping - 11:53
This is not the thing where I often am on the verge of being asleep, and seem to think I am riding my bike and falling asleep, then jerk awake and realise I am in bed trying to get to sleep. This is about dreams, or lack there of as the case is.

I do not ever remember dreams, I guess I have them, I hear that in Psychology class at college or other places you learn how to remember dreams or something. I guess I could search online about it, however I wonder why some people seem more likely to remember their dreams than others, what causes this. Is it more instinctive for some people?

I am fairly sure I am not like Barbie in the Sandman collection A Game of You, I have not simply stopped dreaming, with only dreams from some time prior to a traumatic event in my memory.

[/various] link

Tue, 08 Aug 2006

There goes an 8 year stretch - 22:28
Ahh well it was unlikely to ever last I guess, until 6am on Sunday morning it had been 8 years since I consumed any food from McDonalds and around 6 years since consuming anything from there (I had a coffee handed to me while driving to the snow about 6 years ago).

Around 6am on Sunday morning after getting out of a warm sleeping bag out at the race venue for the working week series 8 hour mtb race, as Russ and I started setting up the site ready for the 6:30am rego arrivals and getting everything happening for the race that day Stu (the race promoter) rocked up and handed us both Bacon and Egg muffins. Who was I to turn down free hot food containing bacon.

I guess the main reason I have avoided McDonalds (and since trying it for the first time ever 3 years ago also avoiding Hungry Jacks) is I do not like the taste of most of the food on offer and it is never particularly healthy even if it tastes alright. There is almost always better tasting or healthier (or both better tasting and healthier) food available so I do not see any point in consuming the food on offer from these ubiquitous fast food providers.

I would however live on Bacon and Egg rolls if that were possible so eating a Bacon and Egg muffin almost fits with in that dietary plan. Mmmmm Bacon.

[/leisure/food] link

Mon, 07 Aug 2006

A good web comic with stick figures - 18:29
My cousin Nick pointed *snigger* me at a rather cool geeky web comic today. I only realised when I saw a recent comic I recognised that I had already seen a link to this site previously but had not read more. I must say there are some fantastic jokes in the archive, I also like that the creator has to make it funny through the text as they are not doing anything with the drawing to try to bring on much reaction, though the simplicity in and of itself is pretty neat.

The one Nick emailed me about had me giggling, some of the others I really liked were c10 (though fairly obviously this was created before the recent news about the Japanese physicists who plan to create mini universes in their lab), c26 (a vet friend of mine is named Libby), c69 (almost appropriately numbered even), c73 (who needs those hammer time jokes), c86, c87 (which needs to be closely followed by c135), c107, c108 (could not stay away from the hammer jokes), c109 (pack them spoilers in), c118, c120 (endurance dating, of course this is the sort of thing we know Dave and Julie do all the time).

Anyway if you have some time maybe have a look through more of them.

[/amusing] link

Tuesday afternoon milk carton blogging - 12:00
Monday Edition.

Saw this link on BoingBoing today to reviews of the 1 Gallon jug of Tuscan Grade A Milk. Highly amusing, if you have a milk carton large enough to hold a Gallon (3.785 litres) of milk what would you do with it?

Now that amazon is selling groceries many people have started reviewing the groceries, mostly in a similar humorous vein.

[/various/milkcarton] link

Wed, 02 Aug 2006

The LA Emperor^WPresident's new wardrobe - 17:27
I notice a mention of anti rfid wallet sleeves or similar on Boing Boing to protect your wallet or RFID cards from being scanned. Now thinking of sleeves, Jon needs a new wardrobe! (I wonder if he wants some long sleeved hello kitty jumpers). Just think if the sleeves on all his clothing were Anti RFID, no one would go around stealing his identity.

[/various] link

Do they really make fake crappy network cards? - 16:24
This is interesting, as Bob mentioned on the CLUG list we had some problems with some network cards that appeared to be Realtek 8139 based recently. As suggested in a few (linux netdev posts with mention of the pci id 1904:8139 there) places, there may (a copy of the code here from the INTEX Zip file mentioned in the previous post) be a 2.4 driver (of somewhat questionable licence, quality and capability)

It was interesting to see, as Bob pointed out, the driver supplied with the cards will load on windows, and appear to say it is a 8139 card, yet it was not recognised as a 8139 by the default windows 8139 driver, nor does this driver work with other 8139 cards.

I kind of wonder what details can be extracted from the 2.4 driver file, as suggested in the netdev posts it may be weird, however if we are allowed to use those register details and such it should be possible to get a working 2.6 driver and maybe even make a driver that does not suck. Of course I do wonder why you would want to fake a 8139 rather than badge it as if it were a much better network card.

[/comp/hardware] link

Getting a Kyocera FS 820 Laser Printer working under Linux - 14:42
I needed to buy a laser printer that would be used on a POS system and make it work under Linux. I looked at the Linux printing suggested printers page and found they recommended a Kyocera FS 820 as it is fully supported and provides a very low cost per page. I purchased it at a local computer shop for AUD $185 which is pretty damn cheap.

Kyocera provide a lot of ppd's that can be used with Linux, however they do not provide one for this printer. The Linux Printing page for the printer is not much help, however I find the PPD for the F-820 drives it successfully at 300x300 and also at 600x600 if I manually add the line

*Resolution 600x600dpi/600 DPI: "<</HWResolution[600 600]>>setpagedevice"
to the ppd file. I also found the margins needed a bit of adjustment, at the moment the best I can get (losing a few mm off the top of the page currently) is with
*Margins Custom/Custom : "<</.HWMargins[0 20 30 0] /Margins[0 0]>>setpagedevice"
as a Custom margin in the ppd file.

To get the printer working I needed the usblp driver in the 2.6 kernel and to install a few packages (cups and related), at the moment I have installed "cupsys foomatic-filters-ppds cupsys-driver-gutenprint cupsys-driver-gimpprint foomatic-filters python-foomatic python-ipy printconf hpijs hplip pconf-detect" (on debian) however I suspect I do not really need all of them.

One problem I had with it for a while is it did not seem to be able to find the usb printer most of the time. It took me a while to realise (by running lpinfo -v a few times that it seemed the printer utilities no longer were able to see the usb printer device after the first time they looked for it after it was plugged in. I hope this is due to some bugs in the kernel version or cups version I am using (notably I compiled usblp with gcc 4.0.3 and the kernel I inserted it into was compiled using gcc 4.0.2) and this is on a machine running sid. When I get the production machine set up it is running a debian kernel image and also a sarge system everywhere. For now I can put up with testing from my laptop by re plugging the cable every time I need to print.

Interestingly the device shows up as usb://Kyocera/FS-820 (also you can speak to /dev/usb/lp0) which as they say means it can be plugged in with other printers and not be dependent on plug in order (though if you plug in multiple FS-820's that may now work <g>) Oh and I wonder if the above mentioned need to re plug the usb interface all the time is a cups utils bug due to the fact /dev/usb/lp0 is there all the time an if I do "echo text > /dev/usb/lp0" at any time it prints a page with that plain text on it quite happily.

[/comp/hardware] link

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